Thursday, May 26, 2011

What's with treating authors like piranha?

As I mentioned in a previous post, the amazon forums are a mess. The genre forums are swamped by promotional threads and posts. The only notable exception is the romance forum.

Amazon finally took stronger anti-spam steps this week. It has outright forbidden book promotion on the existing forums, creating a new "Meet Our Authors Forum." The promotions are now segregated from the book discussions, which I believe is a good thing.

Needless to say, the new spam directive is causing a furor, particularly among the self-published writers who relied on such promotion to let readers know about their books. The title of my blog post is a quote from one of the unhappy writers. (I suspect the author meant to say pariah, not piranha.) Hyperbole rules in the MOA forum.

The spammers are hopping mad, never considering their masterpiece is one of thousands and thousands and thousands. Rather than look for new marketing avenues (like blogs or review sites), many continue to scheme. Most notable are the "tag parties" to artificially inflate Amazon book tag inventories, or using sock puppets to recommend books on the genre forums. The tag parties may have been busted. The Kindle books don't seem to have tags anymore.

Worst of all, many of the spammers blame the readers for their banishment. The angriest of the bunch are driving away the very readers who might buy their books.


  1. I am one of the creator and mods of the Romance Refugee group on GoodReads that is made up of people fed up with the mess on the Amazon forums. We have 200 members after being open a few weeks, and people are continually coming in ... despite only being able to find us through one-on-one word of mouth.

    The benefit is that we have the ability to delete spam posts and block users who don't listen to the rules (though it hasn't come to that yet). It's just sad to me that neither Amazon nor the authors in question realize how special that community was and how hard it would be to ever reproduce, and now it's falling apart ... and for what? The books that kept getting spammed STILL had no reviews, leading me to believe that no one was buying or no one cared enough to review afterwards. So what was the point?

  2. Hi Amber,

    Blogger's been having some weird troubles lately, so believe it or not, your post was listed as spam! I pulled it right out of the spam folder as soon as I found it. Thank you for the information about the goodreads group. I will check it out!